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A loophole costing Miami-Dade school system $60 million may get fixed by Legislature

It’s become commonplace in Miami-Dade County: Agents file property-tax appeals for homeowners — sometimes without their permission — in hopes of sharing in the refund.

For some agents and homeowners, the practice has yielded thousands of dollars.

But for the Miami-Dade school system, a $4 billion public agency funded partially by property taxes, it could cause a $60 million hole in the budget, superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Miami-Dade lawmakers are working to help.

Last week, state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, introduced legislation that would require homeowners to sign off on property-tax appeals. He added the provision, plus language limiting the length of the appeals process, to HB 651.

"It closes the infectious loophole that has created a cottage industry of property appeals that are triggered — not by the property owners — but by those who profit from the hearings themselves," he said.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami, plans to add similar language to a proposal in the Senate, he said.

School district leaders are grateful. But they are still hoping for additional legislation that would allow them to fill the budget hole without raising taxes.

Read more here.